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Be aware of the early signs of dementia Part 1

As we pass the 50th birthday, we may start having more difficulty with remembering a word or having to write things down more often.  However, if there are increasing problems with  memory, comprehension and ability to perform everyday tasks you need to have your loved one checked professionally.

First of all, understanding what dementia is and isn’t is important. It’s not a disease, but can be caused by a disease. Alzheimer’s disease, damage to brain blood vessels, abnormal brain protein deposits are a few . It is basically a term for brain changes that create functional abilities. It can diminish focus, the ability to pay attention, language skills, problem-solving and visual perception. Dementia can also make it difficult for a person to control his or her emotions and can even lead to personality changes.

10 warning signs of dementia

Difficulty with everyday tasks. We all have times when it’s hard to concentrate or get a task finished. When this becomes  the way we are functioning on a daily basis and it interferes with being able to keep track of bills or the recipe or taking a very long time to get something done see a doctor.

Repetition. If your loved one keeps asking the same thing over and over or telling a story many times this can be a red flag.

Communication problems. Is your loved one not able to be part of a conversation, understand what people are talking about, or is struggling for words and objects frequently?

Personality changes. Anxiety, confusion, being fearful or suspicious or easily upset or depressed are causes for concern.

Confusion about time and place. If a person isn’t sure where they are or how they got there that sets off an alarm. Continuously not remembering what day of the week it is another sign.

Misplacing things. When your loved one puts things in a strange place and then can’t remember where it is, have them checked medically.

Troubling Behavior. Changes in hygiene and grooming, having impaired judgment when handling money, etc., are causes for attention.

Loss of Interest. Not wanting to socialize with anyone in any kind of social setting can be a warning sign.

Forgetting old memories. Sometimes recent memory is decreased, but when it includes the past it may be a sign of dementia.

There is a condition called mild cognitive impairment(MCI).  This occurs when a person has memory loss, some problems with keeping attention, decision-making or reasoning. There is decline in functioning, but it is less than with dementia. The affected person can continue performing normal daily activities. They are at greater risk for developing dementia.

In the next blog I’ll continue to talk about where to find help and how dementia is diagnosed and some other  information.

Adapted from AARP article: